In the world of intelligence operations, we hold in high regard the officer who has good situational awareness. It's a rather broad term but in the arena of self-protection it simply boils down to being aware of what is happening around you. Predators like easy targets. They are not particularly interested in contending with someone who is willing to fight for their life. While its impossible to maintain a high state of alertness every second of the day ( you would probably lose your sanity), you can learn to ramp up your awareness for more vulnerable situations. If you hear a quickening of footsteps behind you, turn around and determine the source. Don't "assume" it is a jogger. Don't use your cell phone in public. And at locations known for crime, pay more attention (like at the gas station).
Situational awareness will obviate most problems. There may come a time when situational awareness is not enough. I have spent countless hours of my life preparing to hedge that bet. That is where knowledge of how to strike and break targets on the human body comes in. It's good to know how and never use it than to wish you knew how when the time comes.
Chris Rank-Buhr, creator of Injury Dynamics addresses this issue. He notes that during a violent encounter, "having a single person on the other side who knows what to do, how to act, how to meet that threat with an equal threat can change everything. The balance ceases to be one predator among many prey and becomes at least an even chance. Which is far better than most sane, law-abiding citizens ever get in the face of violence."
Some find the idea of visiting violence upon another human being distasteful and unethical. And indeed it is. But as Chris so adroitly points out: “If someone came to kill your mother, wouldn’t you want her to know how?”
It’s not nice, it’s not comfortable, it is the unthinkable. But grudgingly, in the face of the world of ideas parting like fog before the murderer’s blade, the answer is “Yes.”"